Fast facts about arthritis of the spine

Arthritis of the spine, a term which typically refers to osteoarthritis of the spine, is a common condition that affects the joints of the spine, called the facet joints. Like osteoarthritis in any other area of the body, this condition can cause inflammation of the joints, which can lead to pain and stiffness during certain movements. If left untreated, arthritis of the spine can interfere with daily activities and significantly lower a person’s quality of life.

If you’ve been feeling stiff and achy in your neck or back, and weeks of rest and home treatments has not relieved your pain, you may have arthritis of the spine. You should contact your doctor to determine the specific cause of your pain and to discuss the treatment options available to you. Before your appointment, research arthritis of the spine, its causes and possible treatment options so you can be informed prior to your visit.

Causes of osteoarthritis of the spine

Osteoarthritis of the spine is caused by the natural degeneration of the spine with age. While some rare causes of this condition do exist, joint deterioration and osteoarthritis of the spine are typically the result of the natural aging process.

Each facet joint in the spine is protected by a thick coat of cartilage, which allows the vertebrae connected to the joint to pivot and hinge without any abrasion against the joint itself. However, over years of constant motion and weight gain, the layer of cartilage that protects each joint can begin to wear down. As this happens, the facet joints are exposed to the friction of each vertebral movement, which could lead to facet joint damage, inflammation and sometimes even the development of bone spurs, which are all side effects of osteoarthritis of the spine.

Treatments for arthritis of the spine

While there is no treatment that will heal arthritis of the spine, there are many treatments that can effectively reduce the symptoms of this condition. Conservative therapies, including hot/cold compresses, pain medication and physical therapy, are often the first line of defense against the symptoms of arthritis of the spine.

In some cases, if conservative treatments do not bring relief after weeks or months, patients may be recommended for spine surgery. If you’ve been recommended for arthritis of the spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute. We offer minimally invasive spine surgery that has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain and has many advantages over traditional open neck and back surgery.

Find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery by requesting a no-cost MRI review* from our team today.